WASHINGTON -- President Reagan, considered a friend of a gold standard, will wait for his advisers to sift through a negative Gold Commission report before deciding whether to link the dollar to the precious metal.
The 17-member commission sent its two-volume study to Congress Wednesday, recommending against once again linking the dollar and gold.
However, Reagan may have the last word on the issue, if he wants it.
The report did recommend the distribution of a new gold coin that would have a tax advantage over the South African Krugerrand and which some commission members hope would turn into a duel monetary system.
Commission chairman, Treasury Secretary Donald Regan, said he has not discussed the report with the president and said it first will be sent to the Cabinet Council on Economic Affairs, which Regan heads.
The United States effectively went off the gold standard during the Depression and in the early 1970s President Nixon severed the last formal links between American money and gold.
Through his pre-presidential career, Reagan often spoken in favor of gold in much the same terms as its most ardent supporters.
Within the report is a finding by the Library of Congress which says, 'It is possible that the executive (Reagan) may be able to initiate some formal type of relationship between the value of gold and the U.S. currency' without the consent of Congress or any violation of existing law.
Asked whether that could happen, Regan paused and then answered, 'That is possible but not probable.'
Regan added, 'The president will probably defer to the Congress to let them hold hearings to see what they are going to do. The administration will probably take a position, if asked, during those hearings.'
Even the modest proposal for a gold coin has determined opponents on Capitol Hill.
Rep. Henry Reuss, D-Wis., a Gold Commission member, vowed that the commission's report would be considered 'an exercise in irrelevance.'
Reuss and 29 other members of the Houe Banking Committee signed a statement asking the commission to withdraw its recommendation.
But the recommendation also has some influential supporters, among them Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., whose support was a major reason the Gold Commission was created in the first place.